When I joined Facebook a few years back, I entered the name of Tine Thing Helseth, the Norwegian Trumpet player, on my list of favorite musicians. Others included The Grateful Dead, Suzanne Erens, and The Band. Three of my favorite Helseth pieces from that period are Fanfare, Nobel Peace Prize Concert of 2007, Eternal Story, a duet with the Japanese saxophonist Yasuto Tanaka, in 2013, and Libertango by Astor Piazzolla, also in 2013. Besides her solo work, Helseth performs with a ten-piece, all-female brass ensemble called tenthing. Here they are performing a Carmen Medley at the BBC Proms in 2013.
Helseth has been an internationally renowned artist since her early twenties—she is thirty now— and is considered one the finest trumpet soloists of our times. She resides in Oslo, teaches trumpet at the Norwegian Academy of Music, and is an active participant in community events. In 2013 she organized a festival in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Edvard Munch, best known to most of us for his painting, The Scream. She maintains an active worldwide touring schedule. While I know little about music beyond what I personally like, I find her sound clear, sharp, and passionate; I’m amazed how effortlessly she conveys rich emotion in clear sound. She strikes me as down-to-earth, warm, humble, and a very likable person. She is obviously a virtuoso musician.
Early last week (October 16th), as I was doing a Facebook scan on my Ipad, Tine’s face popped up, filling the screen, talking excitedly, on a Skype-like device. She was on live. Tine was saying that her concert in Dublin had just been cancelled due to hurricane Ophelia, and that she had decided to play the concert at a friend’s house; we were invited. She was going inside now. Wouldn’t we come along? The finest, warmest, most intimate little concert followed. On the left of the screen one could see Helseth as she played, the pianist to her left, in front of two large windows in a warm, high ceilinged living room, On the other half of the screen, comments were shown by time of entry as people from all over the world expressed their excitement and delight. I wrote in an early one, at 1:13 minutes, “So wonderful to be with you!” I wish I had thought to add “from Maine.” The music was wonderful and the scene unique; It made for a special night and an incomparable concert.
Will Callender, Jr. ©
October 22, 2017
Author of Abdication: God Steps Down for Good